Having a complicated relationship with food isn’t unusual when you’re a big girl. When I was 13, around the time I was allowed to go out with friends for dinner without supervision, I noticed my friends carefully considered their choices on the menu. Ordering endless salad? Fine. Springing for your own dessert and not splitting it with the group? That was a no-no. Eating in public was frowned upon by everyone, and since I was a few sizes bigger than most of my pals back then, I was far too timid to order fries—I’d never consider rocking a junk-food-adorned swimsuit.
Now, I will straight up tell anyone upon introduction that donuts are my favourite and I love food; I also happen to be a size 20. Before you go in on me for glorifying obesity, understand that is not what this is about. This is about refusing to accept body-shaming or food-shaming in any way. It’s political: I’m reclaiming the permission to eat what I want, when I want without feeling guilty. For me, wearing a T-shirt with a hamburger pattern is like sending a big F-YOU! to the diet industry, and to everyone who ever offered me unsolicited dieting advice. When I wear what I eat, it forces people to look at me and think about food. And this spins diet culture—which equates being slim with being healthy and happy—on its big, stupid head.
Last year, a badass group of Toronto women formed the Succulent Six, a team of babes who came together to take on diet culture just in time for International No Diet Day (May 6). They chose alter egos named after sweet treats, from Bubblegum Betty (Annika Reid) to Sammy Sundae (Belle Jumelles) and donned matching uniforms for the most fun, food-inspired photo shoot ever. Co-founder S. Ivory Conover (aka Cupcake Charlie) says, “We started this project because we want to stop the war on our bodies, and to put an end to the negative relationships that many of us develop with food.” These women are fierce AF; they exude confidence in their whimsical attire, and their zero effs attitude is contagious. As Alysse Dalessandro wrote for Bustle, “This is a long cry from the ‘good fatty’ narrative that has become so expected from mainstream body positivity; the narrative that gives plus size people a pass as long as they proclaim they love kale and running marathons.” (By the way, it’s totally OK to love kale and running if you’re a big girl. Just don’t be ashamed if you’re not queen of the sad lunch salad.)
Politics aside, wearing bold food prints is just plain fun. Add a few donut pins to your favourite denim jacket or try a pair of pineapple shoes. If you’re feeling bold like me, look for cool prints on skirts and swimsuits. Retro cherry prints, whimsical cupcakes and tropical pineapples are everywhere this season, from A-line dresses to phone cases. Or, if you want to keep things super simple, nothing says party like a pizza patch.